Should My Non-Muslim Mother-in-Law Watch My Baby While I Work?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I have a one-year-old baby girl and my husband converted to Islam many years ago when he was 18 years old. His mother is Christian, not very practicing, but she has a strong belief that gets stronger with age. She and I never had a good relationship because she disliked my religion and race. Since my daughter’s birth, she wants to spend time with her, which is fine, but she wants me to leave the baby with her when I am working as I do with my mother.

She, and my husband, would want more of her presence in the baby’s life. But I do not trust her and also fear that she will misbehave when it comes to religion. What should I do as this is creating issues with my husband?

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for being concerned about your daughter’s upbringing and her spiritual environment.

Babysitting

I tend to agree with your husband. I feel that his mother has a right to be in her life, and you should take this step to make them both happy and then see how it turns out. Pray istikhara first. If something inappropriate happens, the onus will be on your husband to correct her. It is worthwhile for your family to teach your mother-in-law what is Ok and what is not, to forge many happy years ahead, and it is not worthwhile the effort and stress that you take on to keep your baby away from her. Put your effort in the right place, and you will be blameless. Consider putting an amulet on her before she goes.

Abdullah ibn ʿAmr ibn al-ʿAs said narrated that The Messenger of Allah, (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to teach them the following words in the case of alarm: I seek refuge in Allah’s perfect words from His anger, the evil of His servants, the evil suggestions of the devils and their presence. Abdullah ibn ʿAmr used to teach them to those of his children who had reached puberty, and he wrote them down (on some material) and hung on the child who had not reached puberty.

“أَعُوذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ التَّامَّةِ مِنْ غَضَبِهِ وَشَرِّ عِبَادِهِ وَمِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ وَأَنْ يَحْضُرُونِ”

Bonding

Think of all the things that your mother-in-law will learn from this experience. She will learn to only give her halal food. She will learn how important cleanliness is for Muslims. She will learn, as your daughter grows, that she needs to pray. She will learn about practicing Islam in a way she never has. And best of all, she will bond with her and your daughter could very well be the means for her to become Muslim. There is nothing more beautiful and innocent than a child helping someone see the truth.

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May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.